Developed Economies

Refugee caught burgling house faces jail term

A REFUGEE is facing prison after being caught red-handed during a New Year?s Eve burglary.

Naim Sassi, 29, of no fixed address, was found trying to climb through the front window of a house in Bridgwater Road, Bedminster Down, where he and his accomplices had stolen a laptop and four cannabis plants.

The property was ransacked in the targeted burglary, which took place just 15 minutes before midnight on Monday.

Tunisian Sassi, who committed the crime while a warrant was out for his arrest on separate allegations, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft at Bristol Magistrates? Court yesterday.

District Judge David Parsons deemed Sassi?s offences too serious for sentencing by magistrates and ordered him to appear at the city?s Crown Court later this month. He will remain in custody until then.

Police were initially called to the house in Bridgwater Road by a passer-by who spotted someone breaking in through a window.

Prosecuting, Laura Opie said that two youths were with Sassi as they ransacked the house, breaking a mirror, stealing the computer and drugs, and stowing them in a black BMW waiting in the driveway.

?He was still inside [when police arrived] and was trying to get out through the window,? Ms Opie said.

The court heard that as officers approached, Sassi said: ?All right, help me ? I won?t run away.?

Ms Opie said the burglary was ?deliberate and targeted?.

Mitigating, Guy Percival told the court that the victim of the raid was an ex-girlfriend of one of Sassi?s accomplices.

He said: ?It?s right to say that he went to another one?s ex-girlfriend and broke in through the rear of the property and took some plants.

?A window was smashed and a mirror came off the wall in the kitchen.

?The police attended and Mr Sassi was detained at the scene, where he made admissions to the police.?

Mr Percival said Sassi was with his girlfriend ? the owner of the car which was waiting outside ? and the other accomplices before the raid when it was suggested that they should break in to the house.

He said: ?One of them in the group said they should burgle the house of an ex-girlfriend because there were some cannabis plants there.?

Mr Percival added that Sassi ? a refugee who came to the UK six years ago and has indefinite leave to remain ? had been struggling with depression.

He said: ?We have a troubled young man who has difficulties with depression, which is exacerbated by alcohol.?

District Judge Parsons warned Sassi that he faces a prison term when he is sentenced at Bristol Crown Court later this month.

Sassi wept in the dock as he was taken back to prison while he awaits his sentence.

As he was taken back to the cells by security guards, he said: ?Your honour, can I explain a little bit more??


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